How to Stay Close to Your Partner After Having a Baby
Long before I found out I was expecting, my husband and I talked about how we would make our marriage a priority once it wasn’t just us anymore. We concluded that it would be increasingly important to focus on each other. Among other reasons, we want our children to be witness to a healthy and happy marriage so that they have proper expectations for their own relationships as they grow up. A successful marriage always requires some work. A marriage with children requires even more work. It can be difficult to think about anything but your baby or find time for yourselves occasionally. We’re certainly not pros at juggling a baby and our relationship since we’re only five months in, but so far we’ve found ways to continue to strengthen our bond. Here are some strategies we’ve found helpful:
5 Ways to Stay Close to Your Partner After Having a Baby
- Date nights are key. Before Beckett was born, we planned to have at least one date night a month. Of course, we didn’t start this right away as going out in the first couple of months wasn’t an option for us. Beginning when Beckett was about three months old, though, we implemented date night. Our outings usually involve something simple like going to dinner. It is so important, though, to get away for a few hours every once in a while and reconnect with your partner. It can really rejuvenate your relationship to have an uninterrupted conversation that doesn’t involve talking about whether or not your child is ever going to sleep through the night.
- Put your phone away. On a recent date night, I implemented this rule. When you only have a few hours to spend with each other, you want to make the most of them. It is far too easy to pull your phone out and scroll through your Twitter feed while you’re waiting for a table to open up at a restaurant. Leaving your phone in your pocket and, instead, engaging in conversation is a much better way to spend your time together. Of course, we keep our phones nearby with the volume on in case Beckett’s caretakers need us. All non-urgent text messages and phone calls have to wait, though.
- Small gestures can go a long way. Not everything you do to keep your relationship on track has to involve a grand gesture or leaving your baby at home. My husband is great with helping out around the house and randomly offering words of encouragement. For me, this is just as important as having date night. It serves as a reminder that we’re here for each other and that we’re on the same team even though we don’t get to spend nearly as much time together as we used to pre-baby.
- Take advantage of nap time. When Beckett goes down for a nap, my first instinct is to do the laundry, prep for dinner, clean or complete one of the other tasks on my to-do list. And of course, sometimes this is necessary. Sometimes it’s not, though. On occasion, use your baby’s nap time to spend time with your partner. Once again, it doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. Sometimes my husband and I will just rest and watch TV together, but it’s still quality time that we wouldn’t get to spend together otherwise.
- Communicate! Above all, I think it’s so important to stay open and honest with one another. My husband and I are both still adjusting to the changes that come along with having a child. Being open with each other about how we’re feeling and how these changes are affecting us and our relationship has helped us in adjusting our behaviors and expectations of one another along the way.
As Beckett grows up and we continue to grow our family, I’m sure the ways in which we focus on each other and our marriage will evolve. Being on the same page and knowing that our relationship is a priority is what matters, though. No matter what stage of our lives we’re in, maintaining a successful partnership will always require some effort from both of us. It’s effort that’s well-worth putting in, though – both for our sake and for our children’s.
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